Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bergen County Freeholder Election

Herald News Editorial: Freeholder boards need more dissent
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Herald News

FORMER President RichardNixon made his political comeback by tapping into a new base — a group he once described as the "great silent majority," that is, a majority of Americans whose opinions were rarely heard or appreciated by the powers that be.
Over the past few years, the boards of freeholders in both Bergen and Passaic counties have formed their own great silent majorities. In fact, they are super majorities, composed entirely of Democrats, fairly elected by the people, but who because of their "great silent majority" of power, are rarely open about the way they conduct the people's business.
We believe it is time to break that code of silence. It is time for these boards to operate with more transparency. It is time to end the era of consent agendas, where a county's big decisions are conducted behind closed doors and then merely signed off on in the public arena by unanimous votes with no discussion. Taxpayers in these two counties pay some of the highest taxes in the land; at the very least they deserve county officials who are accountable and answerable for their actions.
The only way that can happen, as we see it, is for an end to one-party rule. It is time to crack open the "great silent majority" in both Bergen and Passaic counties.
In Bergen, two Republican challengers, John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen, have vowed to more closely scrutinize budgeting, and to at least slow the process of public spending. Their opponents, Democratic incumbents Julie O'Brien of Ramsey and Vernon Walton of Englewood, are part of the problem. An example is the recent travel and dining expenses of administrators in the Bergen County Technical and Special Services school districts. O'Brien and Walton sit on the vocational schools committee, which oversees the districts' spending.
In Passaic, the Republican challengers are Michael Marotta and Deborah Ciambrone of Wayne and Ed O'Connell of Wanaque. Like other taxpayers in the county, they have grown frustrated at the mismanagement of county budgeting, from the Preakness Health Care Center upgrade, which ended up costing more than twice its original $45 million budget estimate, to the loss, because of inaction, of a $1 million federal grant for renovation at Lambert Castle. Of the Democrats, only Freeholder Director Tahesha Way is an incumbent. Her running mates are Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone and Evangeline Gomez of Hawthorne. Of the three, only Gomez shows any inclination that she would be willing to buck the status quo.
In the end though, we feel the freeholder boards in both counties need new blood, and especially, new and loud voices of dissent.
In Bergen County, The Herald News endorses Republicans John Driscoll and Robert Hermansen for freeholder. In Passaic County, The Herald News endorses Republicans Michael Marotta, Deborah Ciambrone and Ed O'Connell for freeholder.
In the race for Passaic County clerk, we find both candidates, Democrat Keith Kazmark and Republican Kristin Corrado, articulate and informed about an office that oversees many important functions of county government. We admire Kazmark's passion for public service and his eagerness to bring technical innovation to the office. But we feel that Corrado, given her legal experience across a wide spectrum, and in particular in regard to deeds, mortgages and wills, to be better qualified for the position.
The Herald News endorses Republican Kristin Corrado for Passaic County Clerk.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 20, 2009 Hackensack City Council

I'm not the most tech savy person, so it might be a little rough and it is out of order. But I am determined and I finally figured out how to post this. I'm still working on the process. I hope I didn't leave any parts out. I apoligize that it's out of order, but at least it's here.

Here is video of the 10/20 council meeting. There is an interesting part is at the end, so be sure to watch that one.

2nd section (first is below)

3rd part

4th part

Bill Brennan addresses the council

Last video - watch the end of this - after Councilman Labrosse speaks @ 14:50 the Mayor makes an inappropriate comment - unbelievable!

this 2nd part should also be after Bill Brennan
1st part below (the mic stopped working)

start of the meeting

1st part of above (should be after Brennan)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remember School House Rock? How a bill becomes a law?

NJSA 40:49-2 Procedure for passage; "governing body" defined

Except as otherwise provided in R.S.40:49-6 and 40:49-12, the procedure for the passage of ordinances shall be as follows:

a. Every ordinance after being introduced and having passed a first reading, which first reading may be by title, shall be published in its entirety or by title or by title and summary at least once in a newspaper published and circulated in the municipality, if there be one, and if not, in a newspaper printed in the county and circulating in the municipality, together with a notice of the introduction thereof, the time and place when and where it will be further considered for final passage, a clear and concise statement prepared by the clerk of the governing body setting forth the purpose of the ordinance, and the time and place when and where a copy of the ordinance can be obtained without cost by any member of the general public who wants a copy of the ordinance. If there be only one such publication the same shall be at least one week prior to the time fixed for further consideration for final passage. If there be more than one publication, the first shall be at least one week prior to the time fixed for further consideration for final passage.

b. At the time and place so stated in such publication, or at any time and place to which the meeting for the further consideration of the ordinance shall from time to time be adjourned, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard concerning the ordinance. The opportunity to be heard shall include the right to ask pertinent questions concerning the ordinance by any resident of the municipality or any other person affected by the ordinance. Final passage thereof shall be at least 10 days after the first reading.

c. Upon the opening of the hearing, the ordinance shall be given a second reading, which reading may be by title, and thereafter, it may be passed with or without amendments, or rejected. Prior to the said second reading, a copy of the ordinance shall be posted on the bulletin board or other place upon which public notices are customarily posted in the principal municipal building of the municipality, and copies of the ordinance shall be made available to members of the general public of the municipality who shall request such copies. If any amendment be adopted, substantially altering the substance of the ordinance, the ordinance as so amended shall not be finally adopted until at least one week thereafter, and the ordinance as amended shall be read at a meeting of the governing body, which reading may be by title, and shall be published in its entirety or by title or by title and summary, together with a notice of the introduction, the time and place when and where a copy of the amended ordinance can be obtained without any cost by any member of the general public who desires a copy, a clear and concise statement prepared by the clerk of the governing body setting forth the purpose of the ordinance, and the time and place when and where the amended ordinance will be further considered for final passage, at least two days prior to the time so fixed. At the time and place so fixed, or at any other meeting to which the further consideration of the amended ordinance may be adjourned, the governing body may proceed to pass the ordinance, as amended, or again amend it in the same manner.

d. Upon passage, every ordinance, or the title, or the title and a summary, together with a notice of the date of passage or approval, or both, shall be published at least once in a newspaper circulating in the municipality, if there be one, and if not, in a newspaper printed in the county and circulating in the municipality. No other notice or procedure with respect to the introduction or passage of any ordinance shall be required.

Nothing herein shall be construed to affect the provisions of R.S.40:49-7 to 40:49-12 or R.S.40:49-27.

For the purposes of this section, "governing body" shall include any municipal or county agency, board or commission authorized by law to adopt ordinances.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20 Council Meeting

I'm waiting to get the video of the meeting, but in the meantime

Meeting is continued to Thursday 11/22 to possibly award bids (if any are acceptable) for Anderson Street sewers - time and place not announced - was this advertised?

There is going to be a 2nd Ward town hall meeting - tentatively scheduled for 11/23 @ Hillers

Kennedy is going to be repaved with grant money

H1N1 vaccination preparations under way

Improvements were noted by City Manager in 1st Ward

Soccer field lights should be complete by middle of next week - but no idea when power will be supplied

No parking Ordinance passed on Frederick St from Hudson to Jackson

First reading of the following - public comment @ 11/10 meeting:

Bond Ordinance $488,996 for improvements to various roads and curbs

Ordinance No Parking from Essex to Atlantic on Prospect

Ordinance amending property maintenance code to require permit and inspection process for storage containers

Payment of bills totalling about $2,340,000

Hire Gittleman, Muhlstock and Chewcaskie as Special Litigation Attorney

"Kitchen Sink" Resolutions (all voted on at once with no public input)

Award Bid to D&L Paving $103,722.35 for improvements to Arcadia Road (don't know why typed Resolution says "Plumbing")

Various Community Development Grants are being used by other agencies within the City

Club License (liquor) for St Paul's Lodge ceases to exist due to non-renewal

Tax refunds in the total amount of $55,495.78 were authorized

Refund in the amount of $250

Agreement with Board of Ed for H1N1 vaccination funding

136 Essex Street tax assessment reduced from $755,600 to $500,000

15 Warren Street tax assessment reduced from $3,925,600 to $3,462,000

275 Central Ave tax assessment reduced from $1,718,200 to $1,266,000

170 Central Ave tax assessment reduced from $1,880,600 to $1,420,000

30 Euclid Ave tax assessment reduced from $3,983,400 for 2007 & 2008 to 3,500,000 for 2007 and $3,350,000 for 2008

Toni Miello appointed to Recreation Board

Quantum Clean Energy Solutions authorized to examine various areas in order to recommend a strategy for stimulus grant funds for energy savings

Liquor License person to person transfer from Donn Pomodoro to Donn Pomodoro II

Raffle approved Parent Partnership Organization

Public Comments were varied - I hope to get the video of these

Budget issues - we're in good shape. Still to be answered what the "cap" is for self-insurance with regard to lawsuits

Still no comment from our officials regarding the state of the Police Department but citizens keep expressing their concerns

Bill Brennan addressed the Mayor & Council regarding the police department lawsuit situation (speaking from first hand experience) - as an aside the city attorney did stray from the standard "can't comment, it's in litigation" mode and referred to a motion being dismissed in federal court (RICO count I believe)

The Cultural Arts Center is not a good neighbor - the director will be spoken to

The City is going to look into the issue of handicapped parking along Prospect between Atlantic and Essex, where no parking has been proposed

There seems to be some question as to whether the council is in violation of Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA) because there is no discussion at the public meeting where an issue is advertised

And the Mayor could not help himself, he had to get in a rude remark at the end, relating to the OPMA issue. Councilman Labrosse agreed that the discussions should take place at the council meeting. The mayor stated that he would not respond to that because it didn't deserve a response. Not sure if he was talking about the councilman's remark or the citizen's - either way it was outright rude!

Friday, October 16, 2009

10/16 Chronicle Article

We now will have twice as many H-COPs as police officers and yet a uniformed officer gets assigned to taking signs off of poles. Go figure.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is it an "inquiry" or an "investigation"?

LoIacono is quoted - He stressed that the prosecutor’s office is “absolutely not” conducting an investigation and “There is no investigation, but whatever they are doing, has nothing to do with the postponement,” he said.

And later ... according to this article - In a letter to attorney’s for both sides, dated Oct. 9, LoIacono informs them of the adjournment, and also states that he will communicate with the prosecutor’s office on an ongoing basis in order to “ascertain the scope of its investigation and the impact, if any, on the pending proceedings.”

What's the difference between an inquiry and an investigation? Apparently there is some difference to Mr. LoIacono, but there appears to be no difference according to the dictionary

(n-kwr, nkwr, nkw-r, ng-) also en·quir·y (n-kwr, nkw-r)
n. pl. in·quir·ies also en·quir·ies
1. The act of inquiring.
2. A question; a query.
3. A close examination of a matter in a search for information or truth.
Synonyms: inquiry, inquest, inquisition, investigation, probe, research


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Main & Anderson

I saw on hackensacknow that someone is questioning what is taking so long with the repair of Main & Anderson sewer and why the public isn't being kept informed about the situation. The editor of hackensacknow never really answered the question except to say that it's been posted that the street is closed - newspaper, internet, hand-delivered fliers, television, public meetings.

What was said about the situation at public meetings is that the company that was doing a really good job has the contract for "emergency" sewer repairs only. It seems the price they quoted to do the final repair was too high according to the City. So, the City is taking bids for this job from others. So far the City doesn't seem to have come across a price they like. So, it remains closed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Audio Only 10/6 Council Meeting

Memorable quotes from 10/6 meeting

Mayor said - as if how dare a council member ask a question
"When have we ever not responded to them?"
"If they come, have we ever not responded?"
"You are putting something on record that is a given from this council. So I don't understand why you're doing that because this council responds to everybody that comes to it."
"To come out like that, it's like we would not respond."

Apparently the Mayor not only doesn't like questions from citizens; he also does not like when a council member asks a question. Listen to the way he speaks to Councilman Labrosse regarding the question he asked about the Resolution for Elm @ about 27:22 min. "Have we ever not responded?"

And it seems that the Mayor & Council accept no responsibility for the Police Department. If they did, there'd be some sort of comment - either for or against. And the public was told there would be no response to questions about the police department (see above).

PLEASE NOTE - THESE ARE NOT "OFFICIAL" MEETING MINUTES. This is the agenda from the council meeting.

I have updated this to include the Agenda and indicate the time on the audio where each item is located
(Items 1 thru 5 are not on the audio - sorry)
2. Roll Call
3. Flag Salute
4. Approval of Minutes Sept 14 & Sept 15
5. City Manager's Report

6. 0:00 Resolution 336-09 Appoint up to 220 Special Law Enforcement Officers (H-COPS)

7. 6:15 Resolution 337-09 $630,000 for sewer repairs of which $598,500 is bonds or notes

8. 11:50 Resolution 338-09 $433,300 for 2nd Ward (Hillers) Park play gym and spray fountain of which $214,435 is bonds or notes - total includes County Grant of $208,065 & $10,800 down payment

9. 14:45 Resolution 339-09 Change Elm Avenue to one way heading east (towards Main) between Grand and Pine

10. 28:55 Resolution 340-09 Building Department Fee Schedule

11. 32:25 Resolution 341-09 Trucks over 4 tons excluded on Railroad between Passaic and Anderson (had been a paper street)

12. 35:01 Resolution 342-09 One hour parking Hudson between Kansas and E Lafayette

13. 35:45 Resolution 343-09 1/2 hour parking Linden from Anderson to Maple

14. 36:25 Resolution 344-09 Lease 120 parking spaces from HUMC for 99 years @ $1/year

15. 40:10 Resolution 345-09 No Parking Frederick from Hudson to Jackson

16. 41:15 Resolution 346-09 Payment of bills totalling $9,043,538.71

42:20 The following are Consent Agenda items that are not discussed or open for public comment because they are routine (hiring attorneys and sewer emergencies have become all too routine) Consent Agenda items will be reflected in full in the minutes including any exceptions and/or additions.

17. Resolution #347-09 Purchase of 2010 Ford Crown Victoria $26,233.00 paid from Public Parking System funds

18. Resolution #348-09 Recreation Dept. Refund

19. Resolution #349-09 Tax Refunds to various property owners. $9292.19 in duplicate payments & $55,902.88 reductions

20. Resolution #350-09 Health Department Grant H1N1 (swine flu) application authorized

21. Resolution #351-09 SCADA Maintenance (supervisory control and data acquisition) to Red Oak Consulting $35,000

22. Resolution #352-09 Tax Appeal Settlement 22-32 Camden reduced from $1,255,300 to $850,000 for 2007 & 2008 and $800,000 for 2009

23. Resolution #353-09 Tax Appeal Settlement 609 Summit Ave, Block 604 Lot 10.01 from $2,247,300 to $1,560,000 for 2007 & 2008 and Lot 14.03 from $571,200 to $400,000 for each year under appeal (note - the written agenda seems to have errors - but I believe above is what it should read)

24. Resolution #354-09 BC Community Development Committee Appointments - Joe Mellone thru 9/1/2010

25. Resolution #355.09 Appointment to Open Space Committee - Steve LoIacono thru 6/30/2010

26. Resolution #356-09 Approval of Raffle Applications

27. Resolution #357-09 HAPADA Grant for Homework & Support Center(s), Karate at-risk 5/6 students, Boys & Girls Club SMART Moves Program, Latino Initiatives, an Underage Drinking townhall Meeting and Tobacco Age of Sale efforts

28. Resolution #358-09 Way Finding Signage Project agreement between Hackensack Way Finding Signage Project, UMA, Bergen County & HUMC

29. Resolution #359-09 Emergency Sewer Repairs— Vreeland Washington & Main

30. Resolution #360-09 Appointment of Special Attorney Raymond Wiss, Esq

31. Resolution #361-09 On-site Elevator Inspection awarded to EIC Inspection Agency Corp

Sorry about the beginning of the audio. Recorder wasn't turned on until after meeting had already started. It's an hour and sixteen minutes long. One council members mic didn't seem to be working at the beginning of the meeting, so his comments are not clear. Two other council members had no comments at all, that's why you mostly hear only the Mayor and City Manager. The last 30 minutes or so are public comments.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

from NJLM

Get to Know the Candidates and Issues with the NJN Debate Tonight
In a little more than a month, the nation's focus will be on New Jersey because it is one of only two states (Virginia is the other) holding a gubernatorial election. Also, all 80 members of the New Jersey General Assembly are up for election in 2009.
Debate Tonight on NJN Familiarize Yourself with Candidate Positions
In order to familiarize yourself with the position's of all three candidates for governor, we encourage you to watch the first gubernatorial debate, which will be broadcast on NJN tonight from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The debate, which will take place in the NJN studios in Trenton, will be simulcast on NJN Public Radio and will be streamed live and archived online. It will also be rebroadcast on NJN on October 4th at noon and 6 p.m. Click here for more information on the debate.It is very important for the citizens of our state to be engaged in and informed of the issues being discussed and, most importantly, to vote on November 3rd. A democracy only functions properly when citizens vote.Voter Education ToolsPrior to the debate, please visit the League’s website for a special report we prepared of the candidates views on timely municipal issues. We have also provided a link to the State Chamber’s web page, Election 2009, which will provide you with additional resources to become a more informed voter. Review the wealth of information assembled and share it with others so that they, too, are encouraged to exercise their civic responsibility on election day.It is extremely important that you and your governing body are familiar with the issues which impact our communities and we urge you to avail yourself of these resources. I would also suggest that you link this information to your municipality’s website so your citizenry can be informed on our issues.
Please note we have also created a new web page focused on the 2009 Election. Please check it frequently for new postings and information.